The operation made intensive use of robots, algorithms, and accounts recently created for the occasion, intending to make chorus to the messages issued by the referents of the manipulative campaign.
The first account that used the HT #SOSCuba related to the COVID situation in the country was one located in Spain. It posted more than a thousand tweets on July 10 and 11, with automation of 5 retweets per second.
The researcher points out as one of the referents of the operation the Argentinean Agustín Antonetti, who is part of the right-wing Fundación Libertad. Antonetti has been an active participant in the campaigns of hoaxes and bots in social networks against left-wing processes in Latin America, among them against the Bolivian Evo Morales and the Mexican Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as previous investigations revealed, from the sanction that Facebook applied to numerous accounts for political operations in the networks.
Tovar points out in his meticulous investigation that campaigns were carried out for artists to participate with a tweet with the HT #SOSCuba, due to the deaths caused by COVID and lack of medical resources. The striking thing is that if you analyze these responses, almost all come from newly created accounts or have a maximum age of one year. More than 1,500 of the accounts that participated in the operation with the hashtag #SOSCuba were created between July 10 and 11.
The international media then took it upon themselves to make visible the campaign articulated with the artists.
On Sunday, July 11, with hundreds of thousands of tweets and the participation of many artists' accounts, the hashtag became a global trend in several countries. At that time, the first demonstration in San Antonio de Los Baños was published in the United States by the account of one named Yusnaby with thousands of RTs. As Tovar points out: "Curiously Yusnaby (US Navy) is the account that comes out by far the most in my threads because it is one of the patterns of automated fake accounts that spread hoaxes and hate campaigns. If you search for my @ + Yusnaby, you will find infinite ones."
"What is happening in Cuba?
I analyzed the more than two million tweets using the HT #SOSCuba that started asking for humanitarian aid given increasing COVID deaths with the participation of artists and thousands of newly created accounts and bots and ended in mobilizations in the streets."
The network analyst reveals that when analyzing the campaign's hashtag, the most noticeable thing is the repetition of exact tweets, which denotes the existence of automated patterns with hundreds of thousands of tweets and a similar number of followers due to the computerized system of gaining followers.
Another evident element of the operation is the massive use of matrix accounts, with very common matrices in other international campaigns such as the coup d'état in Bolivia or the active presence of Latin American right-wing spokespersons such as Tertsch, Cabal, and Tuto Quiroga.
Tovar also denounces the use of manipulated images or events in other countries and the articulation of the network operation with various right-wing media in the continent.
The investigation confirms the denunciation of Cuban authorities that this is a concerted operation in the digital public space, to which "considerable resources are dedicated, it is not something improvised. It is something very well designed, structures and agencies of the United States with laboratories dedicated to create these conditions and achieve their objectives."